From Ngaire’s journal, 11th April 1957
This morning I went to the Travel Club. Miss Ngaio Marsh was the speaker and she told us about her trip to England in a small Norwegian cargo boat, via the Dardanelles and the Russian port Odessa. Each bale of wool landed there was pierced by a bayonet, just in case someone was inside it trying to smuggle into the Soviet. The cabins were searched by armed police, and they were not allowed to converse with the watersiders. The Soviet women were tremendous, and worked like men.
This evening Carol went to a party at Elizabeth House for Pamela Littlejohn who is to be married shortly.”
Ngaio Marsh must have been quite a coup for the Travel Club, although of course she was a Christchurch girl. ‘Singing in the Shrouds’, her twentieth novel, was published the next year and involves a serial killer on a cargo ship.
I had writing group last night. Perhaps I should suggest we become the Writing Club. I came home full of ideas and resolve, but was brought back to earth by a large box of tomatoes. It didn’t land on me or appear from nowhere; I’d just forgotten about it.
The tomatoes were being a bit belligerent, in a ‘we won’t keep all week you know’ sort of way, so I cut them up and packed them into bottles before going to bed, then put them through the Fowler’s Vacola this morning. I put a sprig of marjoram and a good pinch of salt in each jar and, as recommended by Fowlers, some citric acid to assist preservation.
Tomatoes are easier to deal with than fruit (and significantly less sticky), which is just as well because I have another two boxes coming this weekend. One will be for sauce, and the other passata (why on earth would you say ‘puree’ when you can say ‘passata’).